Photo provided by Chrristopher Hueg: Koinonia, beginning at Lewis in 1989 (top), has grown over the past 25 years and passes on the tradition all the way to LUK 50 today (bottom).
Theresa Marten, Religion Editor
Lewis University Ministry is proud to say that this spring marked 25 years of Konionia. Lewis University Koinonia (LUK) 50 began Friday, April 4 and lasted until Sunday, April 6. Twenty-five guys and twenty-five girls headed to the La Salle Manor in Plano, Ill. to learn more about God, themselves and others. Koinonia is a Greek word meaning “community,” which is the overarching purpose of the weekend. This retreat has a long tradition at Lewis and attracts a diversity of students from different majors, ages, backgrounds and life experiences. The weekend allows students to come together in a relaxing environment, share stories, eat delicious food and build a community of friends that goes much deeper.
This LUK 50 was not only special because of its anniversary, but over the weekend, six students from Marian University in Indiana joined Lewis University students so that the Koinonia spirit could be passed on to their campus. “The Marian students’ participation and willingness to be open to the idea of Koinonia was truly a blessing during this retreat” said student director Bob Seiberlich. “It was an amazing feeling to pass on the tradition to another university.”
Lewis first received the Koinonia retreat from St. Francis University 25 years ago. Over the years, the retreat has improved and changed so it continues to provide a meaningful experience to students. The retreat is student led by a core team of 10 students. Along with Seiberlich, the LUK 50 core team consisted of associate directors Nathan Robenhymer and Bridget Kay, and core team members Jamie Palamkunnel, Anas Anees, Abby Michels, Alex Stewart, Danielle Kita, Nick Quinlan and Stephanie Daley. The core team worked all semester growing closer and preparing for the weekend.
“For anything to go on 25 years means people not only enjoy it, but develop a great connection to the retreat,” said Seiberlich. “It is an experience they want to share with others in order to grow the community, which is what Koinonia is all about.” The retreat uses Micah 6:8 to show the values that Koinonia hopes to bring to the students. The call to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our Lord does not end on the weekend, but builds within the students long after the retreat is over.
“Koinonia was such a great experience. As a senior I was able to strengthen relationships with God and friends one last time before I graduate,” said David Hansen, Multimedia Journalism major. “I’m really glad I was able to take part in one of Lewis’ retreats prior to leaving college.”
Numerous benefactors within the university have made this retreat possible. People such as Kurt Shackmuth, Dr. James Houlihan, Adam Setmeyer, University Ministry and past retreatants have all donated time and talents. Their continuous generosity and commitment to the retreat will help Koinonia continue for the next 25 years.